2000 Chinese presidential election
The 2000 Chinese presidential election took place on 16 April 2000. It was the first presidential election in the country's history. It took place four months after the Beijing Spring in December 1999 led to the dissolution of the People's Republic of China and the restoration of the Republic of China on 1 January 2000. Ren Longyun won the election in the first round with 61.4% of the vote.
The economy of PR China had grown massively from the opening of the country in 1965 to 1990, but during the 1980s it began stagnating and a large class of people had been left out of the benefits from this change, while the government was still rife with corruption. A larger Chinese middle class lifted out of poverty by the economic growth and development became more involved in politics. The LPC leadership, under General Secretary Song Kun who came into office in 1990, began enacting some democratic reforms in the early 1990s. These in turn led to calls for more genuine reform during that decade, with Song Kun presiding over reforms. In September 1999, protests broke out in Beijing over the arrest of a pro-reform LPC secretary Hu Yaobang by the order of Party elders. Millions took to the streets, which spread to other Chinese cities. On 23 December 1999, Song Kun resigned and the then-First Vice Premier Ren Longyun, the leading reformer politician, was appointed as acting Secretary General of the Landonist Party of China, the country's head of state. A week later, the People's Republic of China (PRC) was dissolved amidst the protests and replaced by a new Republic of China, with Ren becoming the first President of the Republic in the interim. He changed his party affiliation, leaving the Landonist Party and joining the formerly underground resistance Nationalist Party of China – an organization which reemerged after the ban on certain political parties was lifted in July 1998.
Throughout January 2000, Ren Longyun made an active effort to push for the creation of an office of president of the Republic and for a popular election to be held to fill it. Many saw it as a desire of Ren to create a separate mandate from the former Landonist government. On 7 February 2000, the former National People's Congress voted in favor of holding an election for the office, with the election date set for 16 April of that year.
Preliminary legislation regarding the rules of holding presidential elections was passed on 21 February 2000 by the National People's Congress. Any citizen of the former People's Republic of China over the age of 18 was able to vote, and any between the ages of 35 and 65 could stand for election. 50% turnout was necessary to validate the election. The president would be elected to a four-year term. No mention was made of term limits.
Due to the rushed circumstances behind the first election, the authorities of the office of president were not fully defined before the vote. These would later be clarified in Legislative Yuan debates in 2002, leading to the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of China.
President of the Republic of China
Director of the National Audit Office
|Zhang Lijiao||Social Democratic||
Director of the National Development and Reform Commission
|Chen Qingchen||Landonist Party||
Minister of Public Security
Commander of the PLA Airborne Forces
|Ren Longyun||Nationalist Party||703,856,299||61.4|
|Guo Jianan||Democratic Party||178,829,939||15.6|
|Zhang Lijiao||China Social Democratic Party||83,683,241||7.3|
|Chen Qingchen||Landonist Party||28,658,644||2.5|